Trotter stars in Tigers’ bowl game win

Published 9:48 am Sunday, January 1, 2012

Auburn University quarterback Barrett Trotter, a former Briarwood Christian School standout, looks for an open receiver in the Tigers' 43-24 win over Virginia in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta on New Year's Eve. (Contributed/Todd Van Emst)

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

ATLANTA — Barrett Trotter energized the Tiger Walk crowd during the Chick-Fil-A Bowl Fan Fest hours before kickoff Dec. 31 in the World Congress Center next door to the Georgia Dome.

Trotter led the pack of Auburn players through a path of orange and blue on their way to a New Year’s Eve bowl game against the Virginia Cavaliers.

The former Briarwood Christian School quarterback energized his teammates and coaches in the Tigers’ 43-24 win over the Cavaliers after being called into action following an injury to starter Clint Moseley.

Trotter capped his junior season by passing for 175 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 32 yards on five carries, as he picked up where he left off after being benched in favor of Moseley midway through the season.

Trotter started Auburn’s first six games and led the Tigers to wins over Utah State, Mississippi State, Florida Atlantic and South Carolina before Moseley took over at quarterback.

“It means a whole lot to finish out with these guys,” said Trotter, who completed 11-of-18 passes in the victory. “It was good to be able to finish what I started.”

Trotter waved his arms in the air emphatically late in the game and sprinted to midfield with the game ball to celebrate with his teammates after taking a knee on the final snap.

Auburn coach Gene Chizik said it was a fitting end to the Tigers’ season.

“I couldn’t be more proud of a young guy than I am of Barrett Trotter in so many ways off the field, the way that he handled everything in the middle of the season and what a fitting end to his season,” Chizik said. “He finished it the way he started it.”

Trotter completed a 50-yard pass to wide receiver Emory Blake midway through the second quarter to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Kiehl Frazier, which gave the Tigers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Trotter’s pass deep down field to Blake, which was right on target, was easily the best throw he made during his junior season.

“They were playing a tight corners look, and I feel really comfortable with that play,” Trotter said.

Trotter threw his lone touchdown pass in the game to Ontario McCaleb, a 29-yard scoring toss, with just under one minute remaining in the first half to give the Tigers a 28-14 lead.

Auburn set a bowl record with 28 points in the first half. The Tigers’ 43 points were a season-high and eclipsed the school record for points scored in a bowl game.

Sophomore Jake Holland, a former Pelham High School football standout, took over at middle linebacker late in the game following an injury to starter Eltoro Freeman.

Holland caught the ball in mid air following a forced fumble by teammate Ryan Smith near midfield in the final minutes to allow the Tigers to melt the clock on their final drive.

Holland, who played with a cast on his arm, finished with two tackles in the victory.